|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Sim's Hat Trick Leads Phantoms to 4-1 Win Over Hershey
Friday, February 25, 2005
By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
Jon Sim scored three times in the second period and Antero Niittymaki made 34 saves as the Philadelphia Phantoms posted a 4-1 victory over the Hershey Bears in front of a season-high crowd of 13,226 tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum.
Tony Voce also scored and Todd Fedoruk added three assists to help Philadelphia win for the fifth time in its last six games. The Phantoms also snapped a three-game losing streak vs. Hershey and took a 5-3 lead in the 12-game season series.
Peter Budaj finished with 29 saves for Hershey, which had won six of its last eight games.
Hershey took a 1-0 lead into the second period thanks to Cody McCormick's fourth goal of the year before Sim personally put the Phantoms on top by a 3-1 margin. R.J. Umberger set up the tying goal by stealing the puck in the Hershey zone and back tapping it to Fedoruk. The left wing centered to Sim, who placed a shot past Budaj at the 2:18 mark.
The threesome also combined on Philadelphia's go-ahead goal at 8:21, as Fedoruk took a feed from Umberger and skated around behind the net. Fedoruk tried a backhander from the doorstep and Sim swooped in to knock the rebound between Budaj's pads.
"You get guys who mix well together, and R.J. and I seem to have that thing where we find each other," said Sim. "It's a lot of fun playing with him. He's a good player and we'll just try and keep it going. We got the puck in (tonight) and Fridgie (Fedoruk) got in the way of people. We had a couple of good shots that put them back on their heels and we just exploded from there."
Sim widened the gap to 3-1 at 10:55 on a 4-on-2 rush. Fedoruk and Joni Pitkanen assisted on Sim's one-timer from between the circles that was his 19th goal of the season and 17th as a Phantom.
The three-goal performance was the first of the season by a Phantom and only the second natural hat trick in club history. Sim also became the fourth person to score three times in a period for the Phantoms.
Philadelphia capped the scoring with 2:49 remaining in the game when Ryan Ready pressured Hershey into a turnover. Voce took control and attempted a wrister while darting down the far side, and then knocked in the rebound from mid air for his 12th of the year.
The Phantoms are back home on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. vs. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and then again on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, Stephen Wood, David Printz, Jeff Smith and Mark Murphy were scratched ... Ben Eager started serving a two-game AHL suspension ... Jason Zent recorded the Phantoms' only other natural hat trick on Nov. 6, 1998 vs. Albany ... This was Sim's fourth career AHL hat trick, as he had three for Utah in 2001-02 ... Fedoruk, who played in his 300th professional game, matched a club record for most assists in a period (3) ... Josh Gratton returned to action after missing 20 games with a wrist injury ... Umberger has seven points (1G, 6A) in his last five games ... Niittymaki has won four of his last five starts ... The Phantoms are 16-1 when scoring at least four goals in a game.